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kekelekou

[FFX] Conair Gauge and Ground Coverage Levels

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Hallo Oliver,

 

I had in mind to create a Conair-like drop selector, but because I’m moving I have not installed FFXv1.80 or x1.81 so far. So I am pretty happy to read that you have already implemented it.

I am a little bit curious about how the gauge sets the drop duration and quantity to match the selected ground coverage level.

The best data about the ground coverage level I have found is this document “Multi Engine Air Tanker Operational Guidelines & Procedures 2011” :

 

http://dsewebapps.dse.vic.gov.au/fires/updates/report/sau/SAU_External/documents/MEAT/Multi Engine Air Tanker Operational Guidelines & Procedures 2011.pdf

 

You get on page 9 a table linking the GCL (from 0.5 up to 8) with the corresponding flow rates.

Then it’s easy to calculate the drop duration (sec) as : (selected volume / Flow rate).

Did you code it this way?

I am looking forward to discover how FFX runs under the hood!

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55 minutes ago, kekelekou said:

I am looking forward to discover how FFX runs under the hood!

Umm, that would mean giving away a trade secret, and I'm afraid that I have to be very restrictive about that.

Many of the new things that you are seeing in FireFighterX currently are actually spin-offs from the professional version, the "Lorby Wildfire Response". This application has been developed in association with a member of a wildfire agency in Canada, using real world data. Operation of the coverage selector was derived from the actual device. It is a little more complicated than what you wrote, because the coverage selector contains a small computer, that calculates the actual area covered on the ground, hence the name. It will control the flow rate of the tanks automatically to achieve the selected coverage level. The drop rate that you set in FFX is just the maximum value that is possible for this aircraft - and the swath width is the width of the retardant splash on the ground, it is a more or less fixed value for each plane. The "virtual" drop computer will use this information together with the position of the needle on the selector (and a few other things) to calculate the actual drop rate, and trigger the FFX logic accordingly.

Best regards

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No prob about the trade secret, the general description you have just given is good enough for me! It's always nice to know how something you like works and where it comes from.

The ground coverage level is a not-so-obvious concept, so it might have been a bit tricky to implement had you not been in touch with some professionals. I just wanted to share my findings about GCL, but I am glad you have a much better source!

By the way, about the gauge itself (and because I can not have a look at my PC) :

- generally speaking, I am not a huge fan of photoreal textures, so are the selector background and needle images available to be modified, or are they enclosed in the dll file without any chance to adjust them to my liking?

- Scoopers (eg Roland Laborie's CL-215 or the halfbaked AirTractor AT802F Fireboss) have scoop extension controls. But FFX will fill up the tanks irrespective to the scoops position (what is an advantage for non-specific add-ons). Would it be possible to decide on a variable (ex : concorde nose position or any other convenient one) that which would prevent the scooping if conditions are not met? One could also think of a arming switch that would prevent retardant drop if not armed on tankers.

Anyway, FFX is getting better and better, the two points hereabove are no priority items. Vielen Dank Oliver for your prompt support and communication, as always

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Hi,

the drop selector gauge is not a DLL, it is just a plain old XML based gauge file. You should be able to replace anything, or implement your own - operations are pretty simple. But on the Windows dialog they are hard coded. The dial and the needle are actual photographs of the real thing btw., taken only a few months ago.

The problem with variables is, that there are so few of them, and that they don't come naturally. If you know your way around the aircraft gauges, a solution can be worked out - but that would be specific for users with that skill set and only valid for particular aircraft, which are the CL215 and 415. I think the Firebosses may have different system, based on a pump? I will ask how all that works in real life, then decide if a gauge is feasible. I am not sure that the effort is warranted only to cover less than a handful of planes, but I will keep it in mind.

Best regards

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Well,

I have just had a little reading session and the conclusion is not really good for my eyesight!

About the dll : I misread this post where you specify clearly that the selector is packaged as a CAB...

About the scoop/arming switch :

My idea was not having you create a gauge, but just interfacing FFX for third party gauges.

You write in the v1.81 manual that the TAILHOOK POSITION variable depicts the fill level. So I am thinking about writing a gauge that would memorise the level before the scooping, and force the tanks to this level if the scoops are retracted. Would that work or conflict with the "main" gauge?

 

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Hi,

a CAB is not necessarily a DLL, it is just a holder object, like a ZIP file. I never package DLLs inside a CAB, they are always separate. You will find all XML assets and pictures in the CAB.

Unless I make a gauge myself, I cannot test the logic. And if I have to add one anyway, I might as well do it right, so people have a template to make their own. Which btw. is the reason that all gauges (with exception of the fire radar) are XML based.

About your request: no, that will not work. The variable is used as read- only. The only way to empty the tank is by dropping the contents.

I am currently thinking about something else. FFX has that option, that the refill only starts when you set the parking brakes. What if I make that active in the scooping procedure too? So a parking brake not set would prevent scooping. Send me an email if you want.

Best regards

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I was just editing my previous post to state that no EventID exists to set the tailhook position!

The parking brake idea is interesting indeed. I'll get in touch with you when my PC is safe in its new location. I just have to remember to add a line in the gauge to release the parking brake when the wheels are brought down. Otherwise the landing might be surprising!

About the arming switch, an EventTrap will surely do the trick.

I'll post my findings here so that other FFX users may benefit from them.

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37 minutes ago, kekelekou said:

I was just editing my previous post to state that no EventID exists to set the tailhook position!

There are two of them - but the tailhook switch by FS definition has only two positions. That the simulator variable is a float value is for animation purposes. And the simulator variable can be written to, so events are not really necessary. Same as with the landing gear if I'm not mistaken.

But FFX doesn't care if you set the variable, it will simply overwrite the value.

Best regards

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The Fireboss, CL215 and 415 all land on the water with the scoops deployed already 95% of the time. That being said all firebombing aircraft that I am aware of have a switch to arm or disarm the tank. Retardant aircraft take of with the tank armed so they can jettison the load in the event of an emergency. Once they are at cruise, the tank is disarmed to prevent accidental dropping of the load. The skimmer aircraft take off dry land with the tank disarmed and land on the water with the tank disarmed to prevent the doors from opening. A switch that could prevent the tank drop button from dropping the load as well as an emergency dump switch that overrides everything including the drop controller and dumps the load at max drop rate would be very realistic. 

Lorby Firefighter X is already the most fun I've had with a flight sim so these are only suggestions : )

Cheers

Shawn

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Hi Shawn,

I will think about it. Problem is that I have run out of suitable simulator events. It is relatively easy to implement this and add a button to the FFX GUI and a keyboard combo, but I would prefer to tie it to a simulator event so you can assign it to a joystick button with the usual methods.

Best regards

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Hello!

regarding the scarce variable availability, fsdeveloper's wiki lists a few ones that might be useful, yet they are mainly linked to the Acceleration pack (and leave FSX only customers out):

TAKEOFF_ASSIST_ARM_TOGGLE

NITROUS_TANK_VALVE_TOGGLE

TOGGLE_LAUNCH_BAR_SWITCH

They may be just enough for adding "scoop out", "tank doors armed", and "emergency drop" booleans and key events.

It could be also possible to use unused helicpoter variables for aircraft, and aircraft specific ones for choppers. But agreed coding would much more cumbersome.

 

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Hi,

Cumbersome in relative terms. FireFighter X has more than 30.000 lines of code, and change requests have to be considered very carefully. I know that there are exotic events, but I would prefer to stick to what is accessible for everyone, not just owners of FSUIPC. And I don't want to make this mandatory, the whole process shouldn't be too complicated for the casual user. So the requirement is, not only to implement these events, changing the complete refill, drop and scooping logic, but also to make it possible to turn them off. Plus explaining all this in three user manuals in three different languages. CR like this I estimate 16 hours all in all, translating into 1600€ of "virtual" cost. I may do it one day if it is requested more often (currently you and Shawn are the only ones). We will see.

Edit: it will probably be necessary to add another gauge or alter the existing ones. So better make this 30 hours = 3000€.

Btw FFX compatibility starts with FSX Acceleration, not before.

Best regards

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